New Jersey health officials brace for fall COVID-19 surge

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Health officials have been warning against social gatherings in homes as the weather gets colder. As New Jersey's numbers go up, doctors say they are preparing for the flu and a rise in COVID-19 cases this fall.

On Friday, cars lined up in Cherry Hill for Camden County's drive-thru flu shot clinic.

"With regards to flu symptoms and coronavirus symptoms, they're very similar. So, we are pushing a lot of individuals to get flu vaccines so we can at least partially protect them from the upcoming flu," said Dr. Amanda Griffin, lead physician at Virtua Family Care in Moorestown.

She says they're already seeing more people reporting symptoms, and they've found pre-screening is key to figuring out if the patient should come in or go to urgent care for COVID testing.

"We determine whether they've been exposed. The type of symptoms they are experiencing, or if they have any additional questions with prior travel," said Griffin.

The state's COVID-19 numbers have been trending up since the end of the summer. They are now to the highest level since June 1, even landing New Jersey on the Massachusetts travel advisory list for a short time recently.

And with state officials sounding alarms about large Thanksgiving gatherings, grocery stores are bracing themselves, too.

RELATED: 'We must be careful': Gov. Murphy discourages holiday gatherings as New Jersey COVID cases rise
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State officials are discouraging large indoor holiday gatherings, including Thanksgiving dinner.



"We have amped up all of our ordering. We are at the mercy of what we do get in. But we have amped everything up," said Nancy DeAngelis, assistant manager for the Shop-Rite of Medford.

While grocery managers are doing everything they can to keep shelves stocked, they say there's a good chance some paper products will be hard to come by. If you're hosting a smaller thanksgiving, they say don't wait until the last minute to shop.

"We do anticipate some shortages in the smaller size turkeys and also in some paper goods. So, shop early and plan ahead," said DeAngelis.

State officials said this week this is not the year to travel for the holidays or host out of state guests, urging families to keep their celebrations small, or virtual.
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